Ahmed Jibril (Arabic: أحمد جبريل; 1938 – 7 July 2021) was a Palestinian militant, the founder and leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC).
|Died||7 July 2021 (aged 82–83)|
|Children||Jihad Ahmed Jibril|
During the Syrian Civil War, Jibril was a notable supporter of the Assad government and PFLP-GC members helped government forces to fight the Syrian opposition. However, after clashes with rebels in Yarmouk Camp in Damascus, the PFLP-GC suffered defections and was forced to withdraw from the camp, and Jibril fled the city.
Jibril was born in Yazur a town near Jaffa in Mandatory Palestine, in 1938, to a Palestinian father and Syrian mother. Other sources indicate that he was born in 1935 in the city of Ramla. His family moved to Syria in 1948, where he was raised. He graduated from the Homs Military Academy and served in the Syrian army from 1956 until 1958, rising to the rank of captain before being expelled as a suspected Communist. In 1959 he founded the Palestinian Liberation Front. Beginning in 1965 he worked closely with the leadership of the Palestinian National Liberation Movement (Fatah), including Yasser Arafat. In 1967 he joined with George Habash to found the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, an armed movement that combined Arab nationalism with leftist ideology, and which was in conflict with Arafat.
Break from the PFLP
In 1968 Jibril broke away from the PFLP because of disputes over the more revolutionary Marxism advocated by Habash and Nayef Hawatmeh. He formed a new organization, the pro-Syrian "The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command" (PFLP-General Command).
Jibril never wavered from his belief that Palestine could only be liberated through military attrition. He joined George Habash and other splinter groups which opposed negotiations with the Israeli government. He launched a variety of inventive attacks, including the "Night of the Gliders" on 25 November 1987.
Leader of PFLP-GC
Samuel Katz's Israel vs. Jibril distinguishes the PFLP-GC and Jibril's strategy from the rest of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) by its emphasis on military training and equipment, and not on declarations and publicity stunts. This caused the group to fail to make a significant mark on the public debate. Since 1994's Oslo Accords, support for the PFLP-GC dwindled among Palestinians.
On 7 May 2001, the Israeli Navy seized a Palestinian boat filled with heavy weapons in the port of Haifa. Jibril is believed to have been behind the shipment of weapons, which were bound for the Gaza Strip.
During the Syrian Civil War, the PFLP-GC helped the Syrian Army to fight the Syrian rebels in and around Yarmouk Camp – a district of Damascus that is home to the biggest community of Palestinian refugees in Syria. Several members of the PFLP-GC's central committee opposed this alliance with the government and resigned in protest. By 17 December the rebels, which included Palestinians, had won control of Yarmouk. Jibril fled Damascus, reportedly for the Mediterranean city of Tartous. Palestinian left-wing groups—including the PFLP—berated Jibril and the PFLP-GC. One PFLP official said that Jibril "does not even belong to the Palestinian Left. He is closer to the extremist right-wing groups than to revolutionary leftist ones". On 18 December, the Palestinian National Council (PNC) denounced Jibril, saying it would expel him over his role in the conflict.
- "Ahmed Jibril, head of Palestinian radical group, dies at 83". Associated Press (AP). 7 July 2021. Retrieved 7 July 2021.
- В Дамаске умер Ахмад Джабриль, один из основателей НФОП [Ahmad Jabril, one of the founders of the PFLP, dies in Damascus]. NEWSru.co.il (in Russian). Israel. 7 July 2021. Archived from the original on 9 July 2021.
- "Defectors from Syria-based Palestinian group seek arrest of fugitive leader". Archived from the original on 19 November 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
- "Jibril, Ahmed (1938?–)" (PDF). The SAGE Encyclopedia of Terrorism (Second ed.). Sage. 2011.
- "Syria rebels 'clash with army, Palestinian fighters'". AFP. 30 October 2012. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- "Ahmad Jibril to be expelled from the PLO" Archived 19 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Al Akhbar (Lebanon), 18 December 2012.
- "'Capturing Yarmouk camp another Syrian rebel gain'". Retrieved 10 November 2014.
- "Palestinian faction leader Jibril leaves Damascus: rebels". Reuters. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
- Ahmed Jibril leaves Damascus after clashes in Yarmouk Palestinian camp Archived 25 December 2012 at the Wayback Machine
- "PFLP on Defense in Gaza Over Ties to Assad" Archived 16 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Al-Monitor, 27 December 2012.
- Middle East Media Research Institute. (20 February 2018). "Clip #5905 PFLP-GC Leader Ahmad Jibril: I Want To See Iranian Soldiers Fighting In The Galilee; We Shall March Into Jordan On Our Way To All-Out War With Israel, Whether King Abdullah LikesS It Or Not". MEMRI website Retrieved 12 April 2018
- Lebanon exposes deadly Israeli spy ring, The Times Online, 15 June 2006.